I do remember the time I figured out the “Label” for what was happening in my life! One night I was so exhausted, frustrated and completely without hope. I decided the best thing for me was to leave before anything got any worse.
I had my doubts about doing this, because of all the ugly statements I heard about myself in the past. I decided that I would scan over some divorce sites and see what I was up against. I didn’t get to far before I was reading this concept about “Verbal Abuse”. I had never heard that term before. It had a link to an article by Patricia Evans I believe.
As I read this I saw my life right there on paper. Not all applied so I had my doubts about whether the label was the correct one for me! It caught my interest enough to continue reading about the subject. I remember sitting there completely stunned. They spoke about a board online, and I went there. It was a small board with not that much action on it. I took the chance, and I posted my experience that night on the Internet. I remember telling them my doubts about how this may not apply to me, and all the excuses I had placed in my head about his behavior. Then I went to bed. I remember all this thoughts stirring inside my head. I had read every post on that site that night.
I remember the next day I went back thinking everyone would tell me that I was right with my doubts. I wasn’t seeing things clear, and here is a thought that never crossed my mind on how to fix my situation.
I remember instead them telling me that all the tactics on the list didn’t need to apply in order for me to call this “label” I had been looking for my own. They mentioned two books to read, and also encouraged me to contact my local DV shelter.
The books I was eager to get. The phone call I was way to frighten to handle. That just seemed way to extreme for me! I mean I had never been hit, and I didn’t think I fit into this mold of the stereotype I had in my mind about people that went there. I ran out and got the books right away, and read them within 2 days. There it was my life on paper! I had my doubts because of items I read in those books. I remember that passage that bugged me the most was, “And he does this behind closed doors” basically.
I knew my husband had shown his true colors for others to see at times, so again I figured this didn’t apply to me. I was told that if maybe he was just a little more dangerous than others, instead of it not applying. Never thought about that reasoning. Another theme that kept coming across was the fact that a lot of people felt they were at fault over what was happening in their lives. I really didn’t have that strong feeling myself. I knew it was “he” that was the problem! I just didn’t know how to fix it! Then the mindset of the abuser was explained to me, and I think in the back of my head I knew there was no fixing, but again doubt had been part of my life for so many years I wondered if I could be different.
They finally did talk me into calling the local Domestic violence shelter. I was so scared it wasn’t even funny! I as expecting them to say, “Sorry honey you aren’t within the realm for our type of help here! What in heaven’s name were you thinking!” I was shocked to find the opposite was true.
They met me in the next town over at a police station because of my fears of my town’s people finding out. People know me around here in a business sense, and the last thing I wanted them to find out was this appointment! I went and saw my therapist for over a month. I got sick with the flu one week, and called in to say I needed to stop right now. I knew my kids would be next, and I would call when this was over.
I drove into my denial stage again instead. It was months before I called them back. The strange thing was it was like they were waiting for me. I had a couple more sessions, and she asked if I would be interested in a group setting. I figured at this point she knew what I needed more than I did. She told me those few months I was away she had noticed a huge change within me. She was right the education was kicking in. I never stopped reading and searching. But I still had those doubts if this really applied to my life.
I started group and I will say that was the best thing for me! I wasn’t alone, and people actually truly understood me. After a while I in a panic about my children, and the effects of this on their life’s. They offered me services for them as well.
What I really needed to know about was what to expect if I did talk myself into a divorce. They handed me names of lawyers that knew about this “label” I had for my life. Yes, I had finally decided to own it then. The appointments with the lawyers opened by eyes about truths I never knew about. It was empowering but I still wasn’t ready to take that step. Instead I decided to open my mouth for the first time to people I cared about. I was surprised at the response I got, and I think I grew a little bit more.
One thing I had been avoiding all this time was my faith side. I mean this type of thing doesn’t happen to a true Christian. The ugliness of my life was never mentioned in sermons, or conversations with fellow churchgoers! You heard about the normal hard times that we live with, but never had abuse been mentioned. I went to the Internet again.
From my life’s experience I knew to find out as much as I could before opening my mouth. It seemed my questions and feelings were always so far off. At least that is how I felt about me. The one thing I wasn’t expecting happened. Up until this point I had found all this great information and help and support about my situation, but when I looked for things on my faith side there was this huge roadblock of silence on the subject.
It was strange because YES they did have articles listing symptoms of abuse, but I already knew all that. Some of the articles would say the list I was familiar with, and then in the next breath – get yourself some help it can be fixed. HOW? It never told you.
I read more and I found all these reasons I maybe at fault. I made this happen because I wasn’t a good enough wife, or maybe I wasn’t submissive enough. I need to keep all these scriptures in mind, and get all the education I had learned up to this point OUT of my head! To me instead of doubting again I had all kinds of questions. Their stand just didn’t make sense to me. God didn’t do this to me because of my past sin I felt! Why would he do that to my children they were innocent! He loves them and myself also, and that just plain didn’t make any logically sense to me AT ALL!
I knew I wasn’t completely blameless, but where is the accountability for his behavior? Not much on that subject I was very surprised. I did find some good readings after a while, but they were few and far between.
I started a blog with those articles that I did find. I spoke about my struggles with my faith in group, and they found some things to try to help me in this area. They were at a roadblock then (the shelter) in a way to help me. First time up to this point that they really had nothing to offer. I continue to research and challenge views that are out there. I remember the shelter staff coming to me with views/scriptures etc they had found when faith based organizations had approached them for help.
It was strange that they KNEW (faith based organizations) they were over this heads in this area, but couldn’t quite make that jump. I remember this getting me very defensive. I mean they could help a lot of people of faith if they would just open their eyes a little further. The shelter was a great resource in some areas, but they have the resources to heal the rest. I will never understand why they can’t work together.
Education has helped me the most with this “label” I have for my life. I still have doubts, but I have the resources now to fight them. Books, Boards, Articles, Therapy and finally friends helped me realize my life. The faith part is coming along slowly. LOL! I hope one day I have the courage to change that for others in the future. Make it so it isn’t so hard for them. I truly know in my heart that it shouldn’t be.
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